Hillary Clinton

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Hillary Clinton in 2007

Hillary Clinton (born Hillary Diane Rodham, October 26, 1947, and known from 1975 to 2006 as Hillary Rodham Clinton) is a former United States Secretary of State and was the first woman to be a leading candidate for President of the United States of America. After the longest primary season in American history, she was narrowly defeated for the Democratic nomination by Barack Obama; subsequently Obama appointed her his Secretary of State when he entered office in January 2009.[1] Clinton took the Democratic nomination in 2016 but was defeated by the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, in November 2016. She served as First Lady when her husband Bill Clinton was president (1993-2001). She was elected Senator from New York in 2000, and re-elected in 2006.

Early life

She was born October 26, 1947, in Chicago in a middle class family. Her father Hugh Rodham operated a small business. He was born into a coal mining family in Pennsylvania, graduated from Penn State University, voted Republican and was known as a martinet. She grew up in Park Ridge, an upscale suburb of Chicago along with two older brothers. Hillary attended Maine East High School, where she was involved in many extracurricular activities, was active in the Methodist church, and worked for Republican campaigns as a Goldwater Girl. As a tenth-grader, she heard the Rev. Martin Luther King speak in person. In the eleventh grade, she was class vice-president. She attended Wellesley College, an elite woman's college near Boston and was elected class president in 1968. Starting college as a Republican activist, she became a liberal by her senior year. During the summer of 1968, she participated (as a Republican) in Wellesley's Washington internship Program. where she worked as an intern in the office of Melvin Laird, then congressman from Wisconsin, and attended the Republican convention in Miami as a Rockefeller supporter (he lost the nomination to Nixon). She was the commencement speaker at her graduation from Wellesley in 1969, during which she argued forcefully against the war in Vietnam and said, "And the challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible." A photo and the report of her Wellesley commencement speech were featured in Life Magazine.

Early career

In 1969, she attended Yale law school, where she was one of only 27 women among 235 law students. On May 7, 1970, she addressed the League of Women Voters in Washington, a sign of her growing prominence. Always active in campus politics, she ended up becoming something of a communications facilitator, as she had been at Wellesley, between potentially radical student elements and the college administration during the era of extreme student unrest in 1970. She was written up on hometown and New England newspapers, and was interviewed on Irv Kupcinet's nationally syndicated TV talk show from Chicago. That summer, she worked in Washington for Marian Wright Edelman's Washington Research Project, where she conducted research on migrant children's health and education difficulties, especially in the South. Her subsequent studies at Yale were concentrated on how the law affected children. At Yale in 1971, she met Bill Clinton, her future husband, also a law student at Yale.

She graduated from Yale Law School (JD 1973) a year later than necessary, having remained an extra year to be near Bill. As a staff attorney for the Children's Defense Fund, she specialized in children's advocacy law. She married Bill on October 11, 1975; daughter Chelsea was born in 1980. As her husband built a political career in Arkansas as governor, she was a partner in the locally prestigious Rose Law Firm, 1976-1992. Nationally she continued her legal advocacy for children and chaired the American Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession, which played a pioneering role in raising awareness of issues like sexual harassment and equal pay.

First Lady


Cohen (2000) and Burden and Mughan (1999) examine the trends in public opinion polls measuring public favorability toward Hillary Clinton from 1993 to 1999. The data indicate that, while first ladies may bring policymaking and other types of advice to presidents, the institutional development of the first lady's office can best be understood in the context of presidential public relations. However, the data also reveal that, while related, presidential job approval and presidential favorability are far from identical and that favorability between the president and first lady is closer in meaning to poll respondents than presidential job approval is to first lady favorability. Presidential governing strategies cannot always be constructed on the idea of shifting public attention from the president to the First Lady and back again as the public fortunes of one decline while the other's rise.

Templin (1999) uses cartoon images of Clinton during 1992-96 to suggest a backlash against the professional woman. She cites cartoonists' obsession with Hillary, the continual use of clichés and stereotypes, and the overt sexism of the images and symbols used to depict her. Because cartoonists see Hillary violating gender norms, cartoon images of her tend to fall into the following categories: gender reversals (with Hillary wearing the pants and making the decisions), Hillary as the radical feminist (the failed woman), as the emasculator (depicted as a vicious shark), domestic imagery, woman as body (the ice maiden), the public woman (the tourist shouts, "Look! It's Hillary's husband!"), cherchez la femme, and the wife the husband wants to get rid of. The work of Susan Faludi on the 1980s backlash against women in positions of power, Judith Butler on gender, Germain Greer on the historical role of the first lady, and John Fiske on discourse and media events is useful in analyzing cartoonists' stances toward Hillary Clinton.

Health care reform

Gottschalk (2000) and Martin (2000) argue that the reform failed because of the close relationships among big business, big labor, anti-tax groups, social conservatives, the health care industry, and other disparate groups intent on maintaining the status quo in one of the largest and most costly sectors of the American economy.

However, Wekkin (2005) argues that the 1993-94 health care reform proposals sponsored by President Clinton and drafted by Hillary Clinton were rejected because they were inherently flawed, not, as the President argued, because of a lack of effective marketing to Congress and the American public.

US Senate

Her most controversial vote came in October 2002 when she voted for the "Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq", which gave President George W. Bush authorization to invade Iraq if he felt it to be necessary.

Presidential campaign

from 2008 United States presidential election

Clinton ran on her experience and organization. Clinton has been a highly successful fundraiser. For calendar years 2001 through 2006 her total receipts were $51.6 million, with spending of $40.8 million.[2] Clinton's best financed opponent is Barack Obama.

Frank Luntz, the doyen of American campaign pollsters, observed in early December, 2007,

"Among Democrats, Obama has the momentum, but Clinton has the organization. Obama has been drawing the crowds and creating the buzz, but he has to turn curiosity into votes. But Clinton has one of the most formidable political organizations ever assembled. They play with broad shoulders and sharp elbows. They take no prisoners and accept no criticism. It's going to be quite a battle."[3]

In 2007, Hillary Clinton led all the polls as first choice of Democrats, with especially strong support from women. In 2007, she raised $118 million for her campaign, 15% more than her opponent Illinois Senator Barack Obama. In terms of her Senate voting, Clinton moved 16 places to the left in 2007, ranking as the 16th-most-liberal senator. In 2006, she had been the 32nd-most-liberal senator.[4]

Obama's attacks on her focused at first on her 2002 vote in support of the war in Iraq, which he opposed, By late 2007 Obama broadened his rhetoric by attacking her as the representative of the old politics, with Obama proclaiming himself the agent of change. In response, Clinton underscored Obama's inexperience, emphasizing the contrast between his vague promises of change and her long, concrete record of fighting for real change, a difference her campaign calls "talk versus action."[5]

Obama scored an unexpected win on January 3, in the Iowa caucuses, defeating Clinton and John Edwards by 8 points. With Obama seizing the momentum and attracting youthful voters, he appeared to be heading towards a win in New Hampshire, the first primary state, but Clinton won the primary 39% to 37% for Obama and 17% for Edwards. Clinton won by wide margins among women, poorer voters, union members, registered Democrats and older voters--that is, a profile that resembled the historic New Deal Coalition.[6] With John Edwards trailing far behind and Bill Richardson dropping out, the Democratic contest focused on Obama and Clinton. Clinton defeated Obama in the Nevada caucus on Jan. 19; Obama won decisively in the South Carolina primary on Jan. 26, 2008.

Clinton, whose husband was especially popular in the black community, tried to capture a quarter of the black vote in the face of Obama's popularity as the strongest black candidate ever to run for president. Blacks comprise about 20% of the vote in the Democratic primary. When Clinton equated Lyndon B. Johnson with Martin Luther King in the passage of civil rights laws, and Bill Clinton called Obama's views on Iraq a "fairy tale", Black leaders expressed concern at a subtle racist tone.[7] After a few days Obama and Clinton called a truce on the race issue, but Clinton's share of the black vote kept falling, dropping to a mere 10% in Pennsylvania; however she wins majorities among whites; in Pennsylvania she carried white men by 57%-43%, and white women by 68%-32%.

Clinton won an easy victory in the Florida primary, where no one campaigned, but the delegates had been suspended by the National Committee. Top contributors were dismayed to discover the financial mismanagement of her campaign; it spent over $105 million, much of it on luxuries, yet kept slipping. In January, when Obama was gaining rapidly, Clinton spent millions on consultants for advice that failed her, while Obama was outraising her by 2:1. [8]

After the virtual tie on Tsunami Tuesday, analysts warned that Clinton faces an uphill fight. Obama is much better funded, outpacing her 2-1 in January, when he brought in $32 million to her $17 million. Obama swept all 11 contests after Feb. 5, winning major states such as Virginia, Maryland and Wisconsin by increasing landslides, and cutting deeply into Clinton's coalition. Clinton's campaign leaders agree that Texas and Ohio are her last stand. Bill Clinton told audiences there, "If she wins Texas and Ohio I think she will be the nominee. If you don't deliver for her, I don't think she can be. It's all on you."[9] Clinton mobilized her coalition, winning Texas by 100,000 and carrying Ohio by a landslide.

By mid-March, analysts concluded that Clinton's chances to win the nomination in the face of Obama's growing lead in delegates were narrowing and her hopes rested on success in three criteria. First was the need to win decisively in Pennsylvania primary in April, allowing her to claim 9 of the 10 largest states in an argument that will impress superdelegates. She did win, but the superdelegates remained quiet. Second she has to come close in the popular vote in the primaries, but by May 7 is now 710,000 behind in official primaries, 50% to 47%. Even adding in Florida and Michigan leaves her 88.000 votes behind. Only six small states have yet to vote.[10] Her efforts to schedule re-do primaries in Michigan and Florida have failed. Some compromise will have to be reached to avoid alienating Democrats in those states, but even if Clinton is awarded a few more delegates than Obama it will not close the delegate gap or the vote-count gap. Finally she has to exploit some new issue that will shake Obama's standing among superdelegates. Her supporters believe that the uproar regarding anti-American rhetoric of Obama's long-time spiritual advisor the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. might be the breakthrough issue she needs, but with heightened racial tensions inside the Democratic party, the race card has to be played carefully. After a 6-week campaign in which Clinton was outspent 2:1 by Obama, she scored a smashing 9-point victory in Pennsylvania, keeping her chances alive a little longer. Democratic leaders by May 7 could no longer see a path that would give her the nomination and many advised Clinton to step aside lest she damage the party and her own future possibilities as a candidate in 2012 or 2016. However she continued to fight on, however hopeless it may be. Her labor backers from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the American Federation of Teachers and the International Association of Machinists continue the fight. Clinton seriously damaged her standing in the party when she started talking about the assassination of Robert Kennedy in 1968, as Black Democrats repeatedly express fears that Obama will be assassinated. After the last primary, Clinton withdrew on June 7, and endorsed Obama.[11] See also 2008 United States presidential election.

Secretary of State

Clinton was the Secretary of the U.S. Department of State from 2009 to 2013, following her nomination by Barack Obama and Senate approval with a 94-2 majority. She was the 67th office holder, and the third woman in the role.

2016 presidential election

For more information, see: 2016 United States presidential election.

Clinton successfully ran for the Democratic nomination in 2016, defeating Bernie Sanders. She then ran as the first official female candidate for the two main parties, but was defeated by the Republican Donald Trump that November.


  1. CNN: 'Hillary Clinton sworn in as secretary of state.' January 21, 2009.
  2. see [1]
  3. quoted (London) Telegraph Dec-9-2007
  4. Brian Friel, Richard E. Cohen and Kirk Victor, "Obama: Most Liberal Senator In 2007" National Journal, Jan. 31, 2008
  5. Kristin Jensen and Julianna Goldman, "Clinton, Obama Battle Makes for Partisan Politics Without Unity," Bloomberg News, Jan. 10, 2008
  6. See NBC report at [2], and CNN report at [3]; see for detailed exit polls
  7. Ben Smith, "Racial tensions roil Democratic race," Politico Jan 11, 2008
  8. Michael Luo, Jo Becker and Patrick Healy, "Spending by Clinton Campaign Worries Supporters." New York Times Feb. 22, 2008
  9. Rick Klein and Sarah Amos, "Bill Clinton: Texas Could Be Hillary's Last Stand," ABC News Feb 20, 2008
  10. See details at 2008 Democratic Popular Vote
  11. Dan Balz, "Decision Time for Clinton," Washington Post May 8, 2009; Adam Nagourney, "Clinton Facing Narrower Path to Nomination," New York Times, Mar. 20, 2008; Robert D. Novak, "Clinton Crosses a Line," Washington Post May 29, 2008